Georgina Kleege — Blind Self Portraits: Remaking the Image of Blindness
Kleege explores the ways blindness and visual art are linked in many facets of the culture, speaking from her position as the blind daughter of two visual artists. Due to this background, she claims to know something about art, but recognizes that this claim challenges cultural notions that conflate seeing with knowing. She examines the ways blindness has been represented in philosophy, visual culture, and cognitive science, showing how these traditional understandings of blindness rely on an over-determined, one-to-one correspondence between touch in the blind and sight in the sighted, as if the other senses and other forms of cognition play no role in perception. Unfortunately, this reductive image of blindness often influences the design of museum access programs for the blind, including touch tours and verbal description of art. Kleege places these representations in conversation with autobiographical accounts by blind people, especially blind and visually impaired artists.
Georgina Kleege is a Professor of English, University of California. Her collection of personal essays, Sight Unseen (1999) is a classic in the field of disability studies. Essays include an autobiographical account of Kleege’s own blindness, and cultural critique of depictions of blindness in literature, film, and language. Many of these essays are required reading for students in disability studies, as well as visual culture, education, public health, psychology, philosophy and ophthalmology. Blind Rage: Letters to Helen Keller (2006) transcends the boundaries between fiction and nonfiction to re-imagine the life and legacy of this celebrated disability icon. Kleege’s latest book, More Than Meets the Eye: What Blindness Brings to Art (2018) is concerned with blindness and visual art: how blindness is represented in art, how blindness affects the lives of visual artists, how museums can make visual art accessible to people who are blind and visually impaired. She has lectured and served as consultant to art institutions around the world including the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and the Tate Modern in London.
Faculty and graduate Students are also welcome to participate in a Master Class at the Sensorium Loft January 17, 2019 | 11 am-1 pmPlease RSVPpvl@yorku.ca
Co-sponsored by Peripheral Vision Lab, Sensorium Centre for Digital Arts and Technology, VISTA, The Departments of Theatre and Cinema and Media Arts, the Canada Research Excellence Fund, the Performance Studies (Canada) Speaker Series, and the Graduate Program in Critical Disability Studies.